A friend of mine commented, after reading the previous blog post, that she had brought a student from China studying in the US to see Chinatown. The student was not impressed. I can understand because this area is really intended for tourists, including tourists from other areas of Los Angeles like myself.
However, there is a lot of history to be learned about this area. But when you are young and more interested in texting your friends, who cares?
As I mentioned in Part One, the Chinese community was uprooted from Old Chinatown and moved to New Chinatown which opened officially in 1938. This is a simplified version of what happened, of course. One of the problems was that the Chinese immigrants were not allowed to own property at the time.
For the new Chinatown, the Chinese themselves raised all the money, wanting to be self-sufficient and in control after their past experiences.
In 1941 Herbert Lapham, who had helped immensely with the project, stated: “It is quite a thing, this new Los Angeles Chinatown. It is a credit to the enterprise, the courage, and the pioneering spirit of these hard working people.” (www.chinatownla.com/index.php)
The vision for New Chinatown was led by Peter Soohoo who was able to move within the cultures of the Chinese and the leaders of Los Angeles.
Erle Webster and Adrian Wilson were the architects who were able to create Chinese designs while working with the structure of modern buildings. Because of severe budget constraints, they were forced to keep the buildings simple rather than truly authentic.
At the grand opening, the Chinese Consul T.K. Chang remarked that the building of New Chinatown was only because of a willingness to adopt new modern ways, and that the community needed to follow this spirit to promote “our Chinese economic and social status.” (www.chinatownla.com/index.php)
The Wishing Well. It’s much harder than you might think to hit one of these receptacles. I tried several times to hit Good Health… I did hit the side of the bowl once so I hope that counts! Maybe I should have used quarters rather than pennies…
2013: Year of the Snake. Not just the snake but the Water Snake which has not happened since 1953. The fire of the snake is balanced by water. There may be a lot of changes and some challenges. Hmmm, sounds just like every other year to me!
Yes, we are still in Chinatown, although a ways from Yale University!
The Chinatown Gateway Monument was dedicated in 2001 with a lighting ceremony in 2004.
My next post will be all about Chinatown’s Thien Hau Temple.
Please click on all the photos for a larger view.
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